CORVALLIS – The running backs have been one big question mark the entire offseason. Mike Riley isn’t setting anything in stone, but on Tuesday for the first time since fall camp began, he’s started to talk about the who and what at the position. And what’s all this about an Australian punter and his designs on Johnny Hekker's job? That, plus the day’s events from the OSU fall camp practice field…
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2:00: Team stretching.
2:10: Special teams work; players not on special teams in position groups.
2:50: Offense and defense break to separate sides of the field.
3:30: Back to separate sides. Receivers and quarterbacks work on route combinations.
3:40: 7-on-7 skeleton period
- Katz: 3-of-6
- Vaz: 3-of-5 (picked off by Poyer)
- Mannion: 1-of-3
3:50: Team 11-on-11 (no contact)
4:20: Veterans done, younger players continue in team period
4:30: Everyone is done
Running with the 1’s on Day 8, complete with practice notes:
QB: Ryan Katz
RB: Ryan McCants
Split End: Markus Wheaton
Slotback: Jordan Bishop
Flanker: Obum Gwacham
Tight End: Colby Prince
Left Tackle: Mike Remmers
Left Guard: Josh Andrews
Center: Grant Johnson
Right Guard: Burke Ellis
Right Tackle: Colin Kelly
Left End: Taylor Henry
Left Tackle: Andrew Seumalo
Right Tackle: Kevin Frahm
Right End: Scott Crichton
SLB: Rueben Robinson
MLB: Feti Unga
WLB: Michael Doctor
LCB: Jordan Poyer
S: Anthony Watkins
S: Lance Mitchell
RCB: Kenyan Parker
Running back notebook:
Per usual, Riley did not separate the backs much post-practice, saying it’s still “too early.” But he did say that each of the seven have a role on special teams and may all end up making the traveling squad. He also began distinguishing potential roles for the two true freshmen.
Malcolm Agnew: Great quickness. Might be one of the strongest guys OSU has on the offensive perimeter. Very intelligent. Has been picking everything up very easily. Riley sees him as a potential first down back.
Storm Woods: Riley said Woods is going to be a great receiver out of the backfield for the Beavers at one point or another. He’s seen as a potential third down back.
But Riley also reiterated that Ryan McCants is the frontrunner, that Jordan Jenkins would be co-frontrunner if he was healthy, and Jovan Stevenson will likely be a third down back.
Wide receiver notes:
James Rodgers: Participated in skeleton for the first time this camp. He got five reps and had one catch and was targeted twice in the 10-minute session. After the session (which ended around 4:00), James wrapped his knee in ice and watched the team period.
Riley: “That was a good step today. He went from individual to one-on-one to a little skeleton today. He got to compete. I would say it’s just about building blocks. Looks fast.”
Darrell Catchings: Did not practice. Riley: “A little bit of a knee problem. They’re continuing to check it out. Right now it’s just irritation.”
Markus Wheaton: Caught four balls from Ryan Katz in the 20-minute team period to end practice, but also had a couple drops.
Obum Gwacham: Continued to get the first-team reps in the absence of James Rodgers. With Catchings out, as well, the reps were divided between Gwacham and true freshman Brandin Cooks – two budding stars.
Defensive line notes
Dominic Glover: Has been practicing, but Riley said after practice that Glover’s academic issues have not yet been cleared up.
Kevin Frahm: Left practice a bit early, as the team gathered for its final team period. He said his knees and ankles were a bit sore as he jogged – yes, jogged – past the media, so seemingly nothing to worry about. But Frahm hobbled into the Valley Center for dinner roughly an hour after practice on crutches.
Riley on DE Scott Crichton: “Picked up where he left off in the spring, look forward to a good year (from him). Very athletic, will get better as he plays.”
Cameron Collins (abdominal): Did not practice. Riley actually sounded encouraged by Collins’ development thus far after abdominal surgery, saying that he’s been impressed with the amount of reps Collins has taken. “He’s not full speed, but he’s forced himself in there,” Riley said. Collins sat out Tuesday due to soreness.
Rueben Robinson: Saw a lot of time at outside backer with Collins sidelined. Riley said Robinson is playing “more physically than I have ever seen him.”
D.J. Welch and Shiloah Te’o saw time as well with the first unit ‘backers.
Brandon Hardin (shoulder): Did not practice. Riley said it’s just a precaution they’re taking with several of the starters. “He’s a corner, he’s played all this time here. It’s not like missing 3-4 days of camp is going to be a big deal, for him.”
Rashaad Reynolds: Did not practice.
Sean Martin (head): Did not practice.
Lance Mitchell: Practiced, but Riley said he has had continual abdominal problems, which will keep him out from time to time (which explains Mitchell’s absence last night.)
Keynan Parker and Ryan Murphy: Have gotten a lot of first-team action with the secondary so banged up.
Tyrequek Zimmerman: Practiced at safety again today after making his OSU defensive debut last night. Zimmerman was turning heads as a receiver last week, but the Beavers are loaded on that front and a bit thin in the secondary. As noted earlier, duel-threat freshman quarterback Peter Ashton also switched to safety, this past Saturday.
Riley said that Zimmerman approached him about the position change. Zimmerman was a prolific safety in high school and coaches knew there was a chance he would switch sides. But Riley did say that it’s not necessarily a permanent move.
Riley: “For freshmen, it’s not a life sentence. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ty could come back and be a darn good receiver; he’s a perfect slotback for us.”
Both Zimmerman and Ashton have had their numbers and positions updated on the OSU roster – Zimmerman is No. 8, Ashton is wearing No. 9.
We’re hearing that Australian Tim McMullen, who punted for Div. II Humboldt State last season, is en route to Corvallis to back-up Johnny Hekker. Riley wouldn’t comment on him, a coach can’t comment on a recruitable player, he needs to be enrolled first, but McMullen averaged 41 yards per punt last year. We’re hearing he’ll walk on this year and go on scholie in 2012. But he doesn’t seem to want to wait for playing time behind Johnny Hekker. ”I think I've got a good shot to beat him out,” McMullen told the Times Standard about Hekker.